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Last week, I lost a bet

The following is an excerpt from our Saturday email, which includes our musings on the latest developments impacting public employees, links to that week’s labor news, and a collection of whimsical reads for your weekend. If you’d like to receive our weekly email, you can use the sign-up form at the bottom of this page. We promise to respect your inbox, and we will never share your email address.


Last week, I lost a bet. I was certain the U.S. Supreme Court would hand down their decision on the landmark Dobbs case on the 4-year anniversary of the Janus decision. That is, we’d have a flurry of media and protests on Monday, June 27th. But, well, you know how last Friday played out.
 
I just so happened to be in Washington, D.C. with AFFT’s Organizing Director, Brigette Herbst, and an AFFT member when the alerts came about the Dobbs decision.
 
The response from public-sector unions regarding the Court’s decision was fast and furious.
 
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO issued a statement against the decision. AFSCME issued a statement against the decision. NEA issued a statement against the decision. SEIU issued a statement against the decision. You get the idea.
 
Know what the unions were also against? The First Amendment rights of public employees.
 
Yet again, public unions put their progressive social agenda ahead of the constitutional rights of the public servants they are charged with representing.
 
SCOTUS didn’t completely let me down when it came to issuing a big decision on the 4-year anniversary of the Janus decision. The Court this week issued its decision on a First Amendment case called Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which involved a football coach from a public high school in Washington state. You probably heard a little bit about this case involving a coach who prayed on the football field after games.
 
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but I was speechless when I read the teachers unions’ negative reaction to the Court’s decision to protect a public-school teacher’s First Amendment rights.
 
Just like they did with Janus, the National Education Association (NEA) cried foul against the decision. Their reaction wasn’t surprising considering they’d joined with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to file an amicus brief against the public teacher’s First Amendment rights back in April.
 
How can the organizations trusted to advocate for public-school teachers be so outspoken against them?
 
If you are a public-school teacher represented by NEA or AFT, know that regardless of what statements the unions make against your First Amendment rights, you have the right to leave your union.

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Elisabeth Messenger

Elisabeth Messenger is National Executive Director of Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector workers offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining Americans for Fair Treatment in 2020, Elisabeth was in the publicity department at Atlantic Records in Los Angeles, CA. From there, she learned how to build organizations that would impact culture through positions in operations and business development at Universal Music Group, VEVO, and Beats Music.

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